Teacher Training: Implementing The Next Generation Sunshine State Science Standards In the ClassroomBy Diana Wehrell-Grabowski on April 29, 2010 in Teacher Training Workshops
Just back from conducting teacher training in a rural county in Florida. The challenge was developing a customized workshop to span 7 grade levels of science content. My primary goals were to introduce the teachers to affective inquiry-based investigations to teach the Next Generation Sunshine State Science Standards in the science classroom, as well as presenting techniques for developing critical thinking skills within their students. The teacher participants consisted of several 5th grade elementary science teachers, middle school and high school science teachers. For six hours the teachers were immersed in hands-on-minds-on investigations that were directly correlated to Florida’s Next Generation Sunshine State Science Standards. Teachers conducted hands-on-minds-on investigations that covered concepts in all four Bodies of Knowledge: The Nature of Science, Earth and Space Science, Physical Science, and Life Science. A key component of the workshop was applying critical thinking skills to each hands-on investigation undertaken by the teacher participants. Key concepts and terms explored through hands-on-minds-on investigations included: nature of matter, earth structures, erosion, weathering, convection currents, interdependence, interconnectedness, characteristics of light waves, spectroscopes, bottle biology models, seed dispersal, plant and animal kingdom, adaptations, Newton’s Laws of Motion, physical and chemical changes, and mixtures and solutions. Teachers designed and constructed numerous models that they brought back with them to their classrooms. It was a great group of teachers, and the administrative support in organizing my visit was wonderful as well. I believe the teachers gained a great deal from their experience. Teacher participants left enlightened, energized, and motivated. I hope to revisit this county again with additional training. As always professional staff development must be an on-going process in every district and school.